Explaining the SplatStats Kill Count

Posted: July 19, 2014 in Info
Tags: , , , , ,

Hi all, after conducting the first kill count tally for Dead Alive, I realized that perhaps the Kill Count statistic is not so simple after all. For example, do I include animal kills as well as human kills? What about off-screen kills or kills that are merely implied? What about zombie kills? Aren’t zombies already dead and therefore can’t be killed? Besides which, a zombie might get chopped up and mutilated several times before “dying”, so…count each instance of mutilation or just the final one?

As such, I have decided to restrict my Kill Count to the following: On-screen human and animal kills. This includes implied kills, provided that they are implied directly (meaning by the one being killed, not a secondhand source) and  presently (meaning as they happen)  by something occurring on-screen. For example, being killed in silhouette (like behind a curtain or shadows on a wall) will be counted because the shadow is being cast directly from the victim and reflects a kill that is presently in progress. Another kill that is acceptable is an over the phone kill indicated by a scream, since the scream originates directly from the victim and again reflects a kill presently in progress.

Examples of kills that are not counted: a roomful of people in one scene and in the next scene, the room is full of gore (the kills occurred off-screen and nothing on-screen implied them as they were happening, just before and after shots). Admittedly, this will probably lead to some unpopular judgment calls; for instance, the dog that gets killed in John Carpenter’s The Thing would be counted, but the head in a box from Seven would not be counted.

Another example of a kill that is not counted: Someone saying that so-and-so character “didn’t make it” (this kill happened off-screen and is not implied by the victim directly, but by a report from a secondhand source). The only exception to the “no secondhand sources” rule is if the kill is reported by a character visually in a flashback; these kills will be counted, interestingly enough, even if it turns out that the character was lying and the alleged victim is still alive–I am measuring kills depicted, not kills that actually occur within the continuity of the story.

Also, I am only measuring direct kills; if someone gets shot and then dies from their injury later, that will not be counted as a kill. In the event that a character sustains an injury but their actual death is not shown, this will be counted as a kill if the injury is likely to result in imminent death. For example, if a character’s heart is ripped out, it will be counted even if the actual moment of death is not shown. On the other hand, someone actively being drowned will not be counted if the death is not shown, because the condition of drowning can be stopped and survived, whereas a ripped-out heart can not be undone. This holds even if it is confirmed in the story that the drowning character has died. Zombie “kills” are not included due to the difficulties stated above.

Ok, just thought I’d clear that up in case someone does a count of their own and gets a different number; I didn’t miscount, I just counted selectively according to my own criteria. And remember: statistics are not immune to interpretation and subjectivity, so let’s not view them as ultimate truth, but as useful mathematical summaries that provide us with easily digestible data.

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